Scientific Preparations for the Total Solar Eclipse of July 2
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The path of totality of the solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, will sweep across the South Pacific, Chile, and Argentina. International teams of astronomers are preparing scientific observations to study the solar corona, the outer atmosphere of the Sun, the effects of the total eclipse on the Earth’s atmosphere, and potential for research in astrophysics.
Scientists are looking to implement a variety of professional techniques to observe the eclipse. They will investigate the dynamics of the solar corona, along with the frequency of oscillations. This can be achieved using specialized coronal filters, designed to help with learning about why the corona is heated to millions of degrees Celsius.
Since the corona stays in place thanks to the magnetic field of the Sun, researchers link the shape of the solar corona to the phase of the 11-year sunspot cycle. Because sunspots are sliding toward a low point in 2019-2020, there can also be potential implications for the next sunspot cycle.
Mapping the Corona
The international group Solar Eclipse Sherpas uses filters in visible and IR light to study the shape and polarization of the solar corona. Their research reveals the orientation of the Sun’s magnetic field. Moreover, they study the corona’s dynamics and use imaging for capturing the coronal gas heated to high temperatures to map how different types of radiation in the corona change.
Coronal polarization is an interesting topic for research using methods for processing the images of the corona with high resolution and contrast. While scientists will use ground and space instruments for studying the corona, amateur stargazers can also participate in the research. A Megamovie project, launched during the Great American Eclipse in 2017, allows citizen scientists to upload their images of the Sun and the solar corona into an app.
Whether for astronomers, photographers, or regular citizens, a total solar eclipse is an exciting celestial event. Even though there are live coverages available on the day of the eclipse, the phenomenon is so unique and spectacular that it should be witnessed in person.